Walgreens Names Standley President

In a move to a company with which he once planned a blockbuster merger, Walgreens Boots Alliance has appointed John Standley as president of Walgreens.

He will lead all operations of the Walgreens division, with responsibility for the development, growth and management of the business as the company continues to drive initiatives in the rapidly evolving health care sector.

Standley was chairman, president and CEO at Rite Aid, and before that CEO of Pathmark Stores, and he has held leadership roles in several other grocery and retail companies. He also is a former chair of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

Standley will report to Alex Gourlay, WBA co-chief operating officer, who served as interim Walgreens president and who will continue to oversee the strategic direction and coordination of the international company’s operations in the U.S.

The appointment follows on Stefano Pessina relinquishing the Walgreens Boots CEO role. The company board of directors has begun a search for a new WBA CEO, and Pessina has assumed the role of executive chairman.

Standley was running Rite Aid when it and Walgreens attempted a merger they scrapped in 2017 due to opposition at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Soon after, the two companies developed a deal that resulted in the sale of about 2,000 Rite Aid stores to Walgreens. Standley left Rite Aid last year.

“John’s leadership experience and strong understanding of our industry and the U.S. health care markets will allow him to hit the ground running, drive our transformation and fulfill our purpose to help people lead healthier and happier lives across America,” Pessina said. “Walgreens’ essential role in the health care delivery system and in the lives of millions of Americans has never been more important as we continue to work our way through the pandemic together. I’m confident John will build on and grow our momentum at Walgreens, and help us compete and win even more in the marketplace.”